Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Medication and Breastfeeding

I think it was about two hours after I pressed "publish" on my blog post about none of my kids being ill, that both kids came down with colds.  No big deal normally, but with an infant in the house I went on high alert.  There is nothing worse than an infant that can't breathe through his nose (how would breastfeeding work exactly?  Not sure).  So I broke out the hand sanitizer and told the kids they CANNOT TOUCH THE BABY.

Given that Casey (my 3 year old), hasn't even really acknowledged that there IS a baby in the house, and that Braden is 5 and actually can listen (if he chooses), they have pretty much left the baby alone.

But I wasn't spared.

About 24 hours later I came down with the sniffles myself.  Nothing major, but that kind of scratchy throat, I need to carry kleenex around in my purse, kind of illness.  But the bright side is, unlike the last few times I have been sick, I am not pregnant anymore!  I can take whatever medicine I want!

Well, not quite.

I am exclusively breastfeeding my six week old.  So my body isn't really my own quite yet. Accordingly, I have to think about everything I put into my body, including any and all medication. Ugh.

I'm not a big fan of taking medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  That being said, I did end up taking antibiotics during my pregnancy (after three miserable weeks of bronchitis ).  And I am taking anti-depressants for PPD right now.  Still, I like to use these medications only if I absolutely have to.

But does that mean I have to absolutely suffer through a cold?  Not necessarily.

OTC Safety has some great tips for breastfeeding moms and over the counter medication, which I have found really useful.  (You can find the link here).  For example:

- Avoid aspirin.
- Only take as much medication as you need.
- Only take medication for your exact symptoms.
- Don't take extra-strength, long-acting, or sustained-release formulas when possible.
- Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.
- Take the medicine right after you breastfeed (so that way a smaller amount will pass to breastmilk)
- Look for signs of a reaction in your baby (like irritability, hyperactivity, loss of appetite, sleepiness, rash, vomiting, or diarrhea, and let your healthcare provider know right away).
- Use antihistamines and decongestants sparingly (these ingredients may decrease milk supply), and always use non-drowsy formulas.
- Check with your doctor before using certain skincare products (especially benzyl peroxide and Retin-A).

Within the above parameters, I have taken some medicine and am feeling good.  And the best news of all is that the baby, thus far, has been spared.

See, look how happy he is:

Happy holidays, and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Get Me to the Six Week Mark, Please.

When Casey, my middle child, was five weeks old, he came down with a fever.  This may sound like no big deal, but it ended up being a HUGE deal.  A call to our pediatrician resulted in an ER visit, and a subsequent hospital stay.  I  learned that it is standard procedure that anytime an infant younger than six weeks has a fever, it's an automatic hospital stay, which involves a spinal tap and IV antibiotics. Basically, they have to make sure it's not something really bad (like meningitis) until they know it's not.

It wasn't.  After three days, we left with a diagnosis of (drumroll)..... rhinovirus.  Aka, the common cold.  The diagnosis was an anti-climactic end to three very exhausting, traumatic days.

This time around, I want to avoid that at all costs.  Colin is four weeks today, meaning I have two more weeks to avoid illness resulting in a hospital stay.  This may seem straightforward.  Keep him away from crowds, sick people, etc., and be religious about washing hands.  But with a three year old and a five year old in the house, all bets are off.  

The odds aren't in my favor.  'Tis the season for coughs and colds. They are everywhere.  And given that, what are the chances that my two kids won't bring something home?  And if and when they do, how effective to you think the "wash your hands" mantra will be?  Ha!  They'll be sneezing and coughing and wiping their snot all around the house.  And don't even get me started on the stomach flu. I don't even want to consider that as a possibility, so I won't.  

Needless to say, I have been a bit OCD with monitoring illness in my house.  I have used the thermometer with both kids more often than I care to admit.  I analyze every sneeze, every cough, and hand sanitizer graces every room.  So far so good.

But I can't keep my baby in a bubble.  So all I ask for is two weeks more of health.  Just two weeks. Is that too much to ask ?

Wish me luck.  
And in return, I will wish you all illness-free holidays!  But in case you aren't so lucky, here are some helpful tips from OTC Safety regarding over the counter medicines for your little ones:

- Remember that you should never give cough/cold medicine to children under 4.  
- If you give infant acetaminophen, be sure to check the concentration - the makers of infant acetaminophen have changed the medicine from a highly concentrated dose to a less concentrated dose (80mg/0.8 mL to 160mg/mL).  During this transition, old medicines could still be on store shelves, so be sure to read the label carefully.
- You can alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen every 3-4 hours.
- Only use the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
- Always store your medicine up and away (and make sure all of your visitors do the same!).

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Highs and Lows of the Newborn Phase

I've done this whole newborn thing twice before, you know.  You would think I would be prepared - that I would know exactly what to expect, and exactly what I am doing.

Not so.

I had forgotten.  About the highs.  About the lows.  So here they are:

The Highs

The biggest high is that I am completely in love with this boy.

I could stare at him all day (and in fact, I do spend an inordinate amount of time staring at him).  I love his faces - his pooping face, his involuntary smiling face, his sleepy face, his stretching face, and any other type of face he happens to make.  I love watching him on the changing pad scrunching up his little body and looking at his little frog legs.  I love feeding him and all the funny sounds that he makes. I love having him fall asleep on my chest and feeling his breath against my body and just keeping him there for a while. I love his smell and his eyes and his cheeks and basically every single last thing about him.

I just love this little boy.

In other good news, I have lost 25 pounds.

The Lows

Okay, now that I have painted a pretty, romantic picture, let me be real about the lows: The newborn phase is its own unique form of hell.  For the following reasons:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Two Kind of Crazy, Out of Character, Things I Did

I would not describe myself as a naturalist, holistic, granola type of person.  I do buy organic food when I can, but I still take my kids to McDonalds.  I recycle, but I don't really think about my carbon footprint. I'm into vitamins and homeopathic remedies, but I'm ready and willing to go to hard core meds when necessary.  I'm just kind of plain vanilla average in this regard.

But last week, I did some out of character things: 

1) I did a natural (as in, no epidural) birth.

I don't know why, but having a natural birth always appealed to me.  Perhaps because of a fear of sticking a needle in my spine, or a fear of escalating interventions that would lead to a c-section. But really, it just always felt, for lack of a better word, natural to me.  As in, we women are meant to birth babies.  It's how nature made us.  So why not do it the way nature intended?  

When I was pregnant with Braden, my first child, I took a Bradley natural birthing class.  My husband and I went once a week and learned about birthing positions, relaxation methods, etc. But halfway through the class I ended up on bed rest, having been diagnosed with placenta previa.  For this condition, I would have to have a c-section.  I was disappointed, but resigned myself to my fate, and stopped attending the Bradley classes.  Lo and behold, a week before my scheduled c-section date, my placenta moved, and I was cleared for a vaginal delivery.  By that point, I was so out of shape and in such shock that I didn't have the energy for a natural birth.  I did try, but after a pitocin drip and 5 hours of labor, I asked for an epidural.  

For the birth of Casey, my second child, I again wanted to attempt a natural birth.  I reviewed my Bradley class materials, and took a "Comfort Measures" class at the hospital.  When I went into labor and arrived at the hospital, I told the nurses that I was going to go epidural free.  I labored for a few hours, until it started to hurt - I mean, really hurt.  Just like in the movies, I recanted my prior request and begged for the epidural.  I was 8 centimeters dilated by the time I got it.  I was almost there, but the pain (and temptation) was too much.

Lets talk about pain for a second.  In my normal, non-laboring mind, my reasoning went like this: Sure, it's going to hurt.  Really bad.  But it's temporary.  It will only last a finite amount of time.  And if I can just take it, for a little bit, it will be over!  How bad can it really be?  

Lets repeat that:  How bad can it really be?  

Monday, November 18, 2013


On November 13, at 9:46am, Colin Samuel made his appearance:

It took 15 hours of labor with the world's greatest doula, three attempts at an IV (and a near fainting incident), a pitocin drip, the breaking of my water, and a NATURAL childbirth (holy crap, that was wild), and he came out in three pushes.

Colin cried.  I cried.  My husband cried.  No matter how prepared you are, or how much you know that a baby is coming, there's something so amazing and awe-inspiring about that moment when you see that baby for the first time.

And just like that, he's here.  As if he always was.  We spent one night in the hospital, and came home, and then it all began.  The feedings, the diaper changes, the sleepless nights...  I had honestly forgotten how hard this newborn phase is, and Colin's second night with us was a stark reminder.  It is HARD, simple as that. But it's worth it, a thousand times over.

Physically, I am doing great.  Which is a good thing, because with three kids, there isn't really an alternative. Mentally, I am doing okay.  After one rough day, I started my meds almost immediately, and they seem to be working (with the help of placental encapsulation - more on that some other time).  Now I just need to break out that UV Happy Lamp I bought a couple of years ago.  If anything is going to get me over the next couple of months, it's going to be the damn darkness.

But overall, I am happy.  Blissfully happy at times, in fact.  Because in the midst of the sleep deprivation and aching lower back and general shock at how my life has changed, it all just feels right. It's exactly how it's supposed to be.

I spent so much time in my young adult life planning and micromanaging everything.  I had distinct desires in terms of when I would get married, how many children I wanted, when I wanted to have them, whether they would be a boy or a girl, etc.  In truth, none of it has turned out as I planned. But what is so amazing is that my feeble mind could never have imagined it turning out like it has - turning out so good, so perfect, so much better than I could ever have known.

My family is exactly as it should be.  I just know it.  And these three boys....  they are my everything.  They are incredible, amazing, more than anything I could ever have asked for or expected.

I am so blessed, lucky, fortunate, call it whatever you want.  I am complete.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fever Tales

Before I had kids I never really thought about fevers.  In fact, I don't think I had really had a fever in about a decade.  There just comes a time in one's adult life where fevers are a rarity.  Isn't that nice?

But then come children.  And with that, fevers.  

Fever Tale #1
After I had Braden, my first child, I took him to his first doctor's appointment and returned home armed with "Guidelines for the Newborn Infant."  In it was a chart with medicine and dosing instructions, in the event that Braden ever got a fever.  I stocked my medicine cabinet with acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and never really thought much of it.  

At the age of 7 months, Braden got his first fever.  I could tell he was warm, but I was a novice.  I took his temperature (rectally - it takes a while to get used to that), and it was 101.  I FREAKED THE HELL OUT.  As in, called the on-call pediatrician at 2am freaked out.  I look back at this now and am humiliated, but hey, I was a first time mom.  This was a first time fever.  The doctor called me back asking what the emergency was, and I told her my son has some kind of infection or ailment or disease!  HE HAS A FEVER!  She instructed me to (drum roll please).... give him some medicine.  I did.  He got better.  Onto the next.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pregnant Woman Walking (Barely)

The weird thing about being 39+ weeks pregnant is that you never when the ball will drop.  When plans will be abandoned.  When people will scramble.  When life will be forever changed.

I walk around each day as if it's a normal day.  I do the preschool pick ups and plan playdates and make dinner.  I put the kids to bed each night as I normally do, never saying out loud what I am thinking - Is this the last time I'll put you to bed as a mother of two?  Will I be here tomorrow night to tuck you in?  

It's is truly amazing to me how much things are about to change, and how it all will happen so quickly. Broken water, strong contractions, whatever else sends me in route to the hospital.  I will leave my regular life behind, and return to a new one.

The unpredictability is killing me a bit, to be honest.  Always wanting to be in control, I have multiple babysitters/friends/family on call, and several contingency plans.  I have a list of numbers by the fridge, and several versions of the kids' schedule, depending on what time I have to leave and who will be here.  I have my suitcase packed, complete with baby clothes and a post-partum outfit and prescription for zoloft, should I need it.  I have gifts already wrapped for the kids from the baby, a BPA free bottle with a straw for my labor, and the camera battery fully charged.

I am ready.

But when????  How?????

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I have a lot on my plate right now.  I'm 39 weeks pregnant, for one thing, and there is all the anticipation and discomfort and anxiety that comes with that.  I'm also in full scale school search mode for my oldest son, which is taking up a crazy amount of time and bringing all sorts of stress (I swore I wouldn't get wrapped up in it all.  I lied).  I also have a couple of work projects to wrap up, two kids to feed, laundry to do, contractions to get through, etc.  Oh, and I am obese.  Pregnant, but obese.  

I'm not trying to complain, and really, I'm doing fine.  But my point is, there just seems to be a lot going on.  

So why not add a FREAKING PEANUT ALLERGY into the mix?  

I could have sworn I had given Casey peanuts before.  After all, he's 3 years old!  But now that I look back, I suppose I didn't.  My husband has a mild allergy to nuts, and Braden doesn't like them, so we don't really ever have them in our house.  Casey's school, along with most schools and camps now, are nut-free zones.  So really, in the absence of me purposefully giving him nuts, he probably never did have them.  And I guess I never did.

The fact that he could have an allergy didn't even occur to me.  It certainly didn't before we opened up a packet of peanut M&M's last week.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Your Turn - "Big Law Rebel's" Story

"Your Turn" is a series of posts where readers share their stories of parenthood, work, the struggle for a balance, or just life generally.  If you are interested in contributing a story, please email me at butidohavealawdegree@gmail.com, or click here.

Lawyers are straight up legendary.  They wear awesome suits, make tons of money, intimidate witnesses in court, and fight exhilarating battles before judges and juries.  It's a glamorous existence rife with prestige and academic accolades.  Firms are bursting with supermodel associates and badass partners who drink bourbon and enjoy playboy lifestyles.  And do you know why all of this has to be true?  Because Hollywood says so.  Law and Order, Suits, Franklin and Bash, Ally McBeal...  If you place any credence in these gripping dramas, the world of law has to be the absolute pinnacle of the professional world.  That's IF you place any credence on these shows.  For some bizarre and idiotic reason, I did... subconsciously at least.  This is how I began my tumultuous tumble down the legal rabbit hole.

When law school kicked off, I hatched my master plan to take the legal world by storm.  I would work hard in school, do well, get the big firm job, toil day and night, make partner, buy a house, join a country club, eat filet mignon, drink scotch, hire a personal tailor, buy a private locker at the cigar bar, drive a high end sports car, purchase a collection of monogrammed shirts, wear custom made cuff links, buy a second house in the country, buy a sailboat, play golf, install a pool, build a patio, and achieve fame and fortune as a legal wizard.  It sounded like a fairy tale existence at the time.

But what cruel joke the world played on me.  Working in big law proved to be far from glamorous. For me, the only benefit was the money, and every other aspect suffocated my soul.  I spent hours slaving away in an isolated office doing mundane busy work late into the night, while listening to other associates brag about how much they worked (and how late into the night).  As an extrovert who craves attention and real communication, I felt completely out of place from day one. And yet I stayed in the field for four long years.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cavities and Candy and Sedation Dentistry: Some Halloween Thoughts

Halloween is just around the corner.  And that means costumes!  And red solo cups filled with wine!  And candy!  And cavities!

Yes, cavities.  I hate to be Debbie Downer, but cavities are on my mind.

My husband has always had cavity ridden teeth.  It was a trait I hoped he wouldn't pass onto our children, but alas, the gene has hit five-year-old Braden hard.  And thus, cavities, fluoride, dentists, and sedation (more on that), have all become a regular part of our vocabulary.

Let me back up.  Even before knowing about Braden's cavity ridden teeth, I knew going to the dentist with him would be a challenge.  Braden is very sensitive to noise and hates to be in the vicinity of a vacuum cleaner, let alone have a loud drill come into an internal orifice.  (See this old post chronicling Braden's first trip to the dentist - it wasn't pretty).  Over the years, it has gotten a little bit easier, in that he will actually sit in the chair and allow the dental professionals to look in his mouth.  However, allowing them to put anything in his mouth, besides a finger or one of those hook teeth counter things, has remained a challenge.

This was so momentous I took a picture.
In any event, about a year ago, right after Braden turned 4, the dentist was finally able to really get in there and assess the state of Braden's dental health.  The result?  Four cavities.  FOUR!  I felt the shame, as the dentist asked me what Braden eats:  Lollipops?  Sometimes (don't all parents use these for bribes?).  Fruit snacks?  Yes (aren't those supposed to be "healthy"?).  Skittles, cookies, ice cream? Guilty (doesn't everyone give nightly dessert options?)!  Braden may not have the best teeth genes, but I certainly wasn't helping.  I got a stern lecture on oral health and subsequently came home and trashed an entire shelf in our pantry.

My shame, and the subsequent candy purging, was only the tip of the iceberg, though.  The bigger issues was how to get these cavities filled, in a kid that won't even open his mouth for the motorized fluoride brush?

Friday, October 25, 2013

What I Do All Morning

Since the beginning of September, I have had my mornings "free."  By "free," I mean that both of my kids are in school.  They leave the house with my husband at 8am, and I don't need to go pick up Casey until 11am.  That is three hours sans kids.  Free.

I was VERY much looking forward to this time.  It would be, after all, the first time in five years I would have no children to look after on a regular, consistent basis.  I also had the pregnancy card on my side.  I find that many times, when stay at home moms send their kids off to school, the first question they are asked is:  "So what are you going to do with all of that time?"  It's a stressful question, and one that comes with all sorts of expectations and judgments and stereotypes.  But my pregnancy allowed me to avoid this pressure, because my "free" time is obviously finite.  In fact, in approximately three short weeks, I'll have a newborn at home, and it will be another three years until I can look forward to any sort of "free" time.  

I had all sorts of visions for this time.  I envisioned perhaps sleeping - getting up to help the kids get ready, and then coming back to bed once they were out the door.  I could doze for an hour or so with the Today Show on in the background, or watch the DVRed shows from the night before.  

I envisioned getting housework done - the kind of thing I usually put off and then have to face at 4pm. I would empty the dishwasher, put in laundry, go grocery shopping, and perhaps even prep that night's meal.  Maybe I would even make the beds - something  I have not done in five years. Or maybe ever. Actually, now that I think of it, I have never, ever been a regular bedmaker.  Maybe I would turn into one.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What It Means to be Tree

For Casey, it means this:

It means going to school.

It means sharing a room with a big brother.

And getting ready for a little one.

It means sucking a thumb.

It means taking selfies.

It means being silly.

And playing pirates.

And cuddling up with a best friend.

It means running.

And digging.

And climbing.

It means getting hurt every once in a while...

It means starting karate.

And becoming such a big boy.

It means the proudest mommy and daddy (and brother) ever.

It means celebrating.

It means that when people ask you how old you are, you proudly pronounce that you're "tree"!

Happy third birthday, Casey boy.  We couldn't love you more.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Last Month

I have approximately four weeks left to be pregnant.  I have mixed feelings about this.

A huge part of me is SO excited not to be pregnant anymore.  I can't wait to eat a tuna sandwich and wash it down with a huge glass of Pinot Noir.  I can't wait to be able to turn over in bed without having to physically carry my stomach with my hands, and to be able to, eventually, even sleep on my stomach again (heaven).  I can't wait to be able to take real medications again (I am currently suffering through a sinus infection on saline drops alone).  I can't wait to stop spending way too much time in my OB's waiting room, to be able to lift up my kids again, and to fit into normal clothes.  

But at the same time, I'm so not READY!  From a practical standpoint, I'm getting there.  The nursery is almost prepared, the clothes are washed and folded, I have started gathering things for the "hospital bag," and last weekend I cleaned our linen closet (as part of my obsessive nesting/organizing kick). The boys have settled into their shared room, and last weekend they went on a sibling hospital tour.  I have typed out a list of babysitters and friends to call in the middle of the night.  The family is on standby, awaiting the call.  

But from an emotional standpoint.... are you ever really ready?  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thanks for the Pump

It's not everyday you are pleasantly surprised by an insurance company.  But yesterday, I was!

I have been wrapping up lots of loose ends for this impending baby.  That means packing my hospital bag, folding clothes, cleaning out drawers, organizing documents, and otherwise nesting like crazy.  Yesterday, as I was organizing some insurance documents, I remembered that I had heard something a few months back.  Wasn't there some legislation whereby breast pumps are now covered by health insurance?  

Why, yes, yes there was!

In 2010, President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act.  Otherwise known as Obamacare. Heard about it in the news recently?  

Under this act, women are entitled to free breast pumps and breastfeeding services.  I had read about this, but in some ways, it sounded too good to be true.  I mean, it's the opposite of any experience I've ever had with my insurance company.  Something free, that's not absolutely medically necessary?  No co-pays?  No co-insurance?  Just FREE?  

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Soon to Be Middle

It's amazing to me how much guilt creeps into parenting.  It's insidious.  Guilt for working, for not working, for yelling, for being too lax, for turning on the TV, for not serving veggies every night, for getting drive-thru McDonalds.  There are no perfect parents, to be sure, and I'd venture to say there are very few parents that don't feel guilty about their lack of perfection.  I've gotten used to this guilt, and in many ways, accepted it.  Though it at times rattles me.  And right now I am dealing with the most irrational, ridiculous guilt, that just won't go away.

I feel guilty for having a third child.

Yes, I know this is absurd, especially since I have dealt with this guilt before.  When my second, Casey, was born, and I came home from the hospital, Braden was not happy.  He was downright pissed, actually.  He was merely two years old, but he tantrumed, he screamed, he cried.  He wanted mommy all to himself.  In the midst of sleep deprivation and hormones and PPD, I let it get to me.  I felt awful for ruining his life, for taking myself away from him, for shaking up our perfect little family of 3.

I laugh at myself now.  What is more irrational than being guided by the emotions of a two year old?  And obviously, Casey's birth was a gift to Braden, and a gift to the whole family.  I can't imagine it any other way.

But for the past month or so, I look at Casey - the very child that was the source of my guilt for his other brother - and I feel guilty for adding another baby to the mix.  For taking away some of the little one on one time I already have with him.  For making him a middle child.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rachie Getting Married

When you get to be my age, weddings are a dime a dozen.  Between friends, family, co-workers, and all of my husband's respective cohorts, I have probably been to over 30 weddings in the past decade.  They are all fun, all worthwhile, and all meaningful.  But I'd be lying if I said some didn't mean more to me than others.  And isn't that only natural?  There are some weddings I've been to where I've introduced myself to the bride and groom (awkward).  It's a fun party, but not necessarily one that tugs at my heartstrings.

Not like this past weekend.

On Saturday my baby sister got married.  It's ridiculous for me to refer to her as my "baby" sister, as she is nearly 30 years old and we are only 5 years apart.  But, she is my little sister, and always will be.  And this past Saturday was one of the biggest days of her life.

Rachie got engaged earlier this year, and since then, I have been an active observer of her wedding planning. Make no mistake, she did all the work, but I thoroughly enjoyed weighing in on her flower options, her drafts of the wedding program, her potential cake flavors, her bridesmaid dresses (which had to accommodate my ever growing stomach) and even her wedding dress.  It was fun - far more fun than when I was doing it for my own wedding and feeling all of the accompanying stress.

The lead up to the wedding was huge.  I checked the weather incessantly, I checked her registry incessantly, and privately, I freaked out that I would have some pregnancy complication that would keep me from traveling. In fact, from the second I found out I was pregnant, my first thought was - but what about my sister's wedding?  I just had to make it to that day.  HAD to make it.  With no complications or bedrest or God forbid, early delivery that could keep me away.  I would be there no matter what.  Just make it to October 5, 2013.

I made it, thank God.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Medicine Abuse - A Scary Reality

My kids don't like medicine.  Even with the fruity flavors and the promises of feeling better and the various bribes I offer them, it's always hard for me to get them to swallow it down (without half of it spilling out of their mouths).  It's always a pain, and a responsibility that my husband and I tend to hand off to each other (It's your turn.  No, it's your turn!).  It's the kind of thing that I hope will get easier as they get older, and logic will set in.  This may not taste good, but you need it.

Right now my kids are innocent and young and the thought of them taking these medications unnecessarily and voluntarily - for a purpose other than needing it, seems incredibly far fetched.  I mean, they won't even open their mouth for it now!  But I know that there will come a time, someday, years from now, when they will learn that some people take these medications not to get better, but to get high.

And that prospect scares the bajeezes out of me.

I still remember when I first heard of this phenomenon, back when I was a teen myself.  I was in college, and some guys at a party were handing around some cough medicine.  What on earth?  I remember thinking.  Are they sick?  I was ignorant, obviously, but I eventually learned what they were doing.  I never tried it myself, but I did get immune to the shock of seeing others do it.  In the next few years, I would see it again.

October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.  As part of this, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association is highlighting its Stop Medicine Abuse campaign, with the goal of alerting parents and community members of the dangers of teens abusing over the counter medicines.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Getting Caught Up in it All - The Private School Question

Way back when, forever ago, my husband and I moved from New York City to Washington, DC. There were a variety of reasons for this move, but one of them was that I really didn't want to raise my children in Manhattan.  I didn't want to deal with the crowds, the constricted living spaces, or the competition for good schools.

I had heard enough around my firm about preschool applications and kindergarten applications and people waiting at 6am in the rain in a line around the block on sign up day.  My sister, an English PhD student at the time, had been hired by parents to write their kindergarten application essays.  That's right. Parents in Manhattan hire PhD students to write their application essays (well, not all of them, but just a few is enough).

We moved to the DC area, and eventually ended up in a neighborhood with excellent public schools.  It was one of the main reasons we chose our house, in fact.  Mind you, I don't really know what makes a given public school "excellent," but the district is consistently rated as one of the top in the country, so that was good enough for me.  I am a public school kid, and so is my husband, so it only made sense that our children would attend public school.  I never really considered anything else, actually.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tending to My Nest

Pregnancy Weekly defines nesting as:

“[A]n uncontrollable urge to clean one’s house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.” 

Yeah, I think I know something about that. 

Prior to getting pregnant, I always thought this nesting thing was a bit of a farce.  Along with PMS and baby blues and all sorts of other “hormonal” behaviors.  After three pregnancies, I’ve been proven wrong.  Very wrong.  And I am here to attest that the nesting instinct is alive and well. 

It started for me back in June.  I had just finished a seven hour drive from North Carolina back to DC – just me and the kids.  I was exhausted.  I unloaded the car, got the kids situated with a show, and then, instead of unpacking or relaxing or checking the mail or starting the kids’ dinner, I decided it was the perfect moment to update Casey’s baby book.   I spent 45 minutes cutting out pictures and filling in information about his first birthday party.  Yes, it had to be done that minute. 

That was my first hint that the nesting was being kicked into overdrive.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hearing His Voice

Sometimes it's funny how the past comes flooding back in an instant.

When I was 16 years old, I had my first real boyfriend.  I fell, hard.  We both did.  By senior year in high school, we were inseparable, and we decided we wanted to go to college together.  We applied to many of the same schools, and ultimately decided to both go to Penn State.  Looking back on this, I would never advise it to anyone today. Be free!  I would say.  Experience college and life and don't tie yourself down!  I can tell you that if someone gave me that advice, way back when in 1995, I wouldn't have listened.  I was completely in love and was absolutely convinced that this man - this boy - would be my husband.  He felt the same.

Against all odds, we stayed together all through college.  There were many bumps in the road, for sure, and many break-ups and reconciliations and some random "lets date other people" periods in there.  But we ended college, in some ways, much like we started.  We parted ways almost immediately after that.

I was ready for us to break up.  In some ways, it came as a relief.  Having been with the same person for almost 6 years - from age 16-21, I think that much of the reason we were still together was out of habit, and out of fear of doing anything else.  He decided to move to LA to pursue a career in the television/movie industry, and I had applied to, and been accepted to, the London School of Economics.  We didn't even really talk about staying together. We knew it was over.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Memorializing a Family of Four + a GIVEAWAY!

These past few weeks I have felt overwhelmed by nostalgia for our cozy little family of four.  Soon, there will be five of us.  And while that is great, and wanted, and will make life all the more interesting and amazing, I feel it's okay to get sentimental about the loss of what is right now.  The four of us.  Just us.

I've been wanting to get family pictures done for a couple of years now, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Once I got pregnant, I figured it would just make sense to wait until after the baby was born - after all, any family of four photos would soon need to be replaced by family of five photos. But then, a few weeks ago, a local photographer (Anna Carson Dewitt) reached out to me to see if I was interested in doing a complimentary photo shoot and giveaway on my blog (view her website here).  Given my nostalgia and sentimentality and pregnancy hormones generally, I jumped at the opportunity.

We did the photo shoot a couple of weeks ago and got the photos back a few days later.  Anna did a phenomenal job.  Of course, she did have some cute subjects to work with...

These two boys... brothers.  Soon another one will join their clan.  But for now, for today, they are two peas in a pod.

They love each other so much, even if they don't show it all the time.  And knowing that they have each other, with the inevitable shift in my attention in a couple of months time, is a relief.  And a gift.

Today, these boys are my babies.  My everything.

And today, I feel like luckiest person in the world.

I love my family of four.

But it will only get better...

I'm so glad I have these photos to memorialize this "in between" time in my family's life.  Perhaps once my pregnancy hormones go away I can manage to look at them without crying!

And now for the giveaway...

One lucky reader in the DC area will be able to experience Anna's talent firsthand!  Anna is giving away a 60 minute photo session, with 30-50 digital images for you to keep!  To enter the giveaway, please do two things:

1) Like my Facebook page (click here), if you haven't already AND
2) Leave a comment either here or on my Facebook page with your email address.

I will select a winner at random, and the giveaway will close on Tuesday, September 24th at midnight.

Good luck!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I don't write that much about my decision to leave my law firm job anymore, for a couple of reasons: 1) I don't want to be a broken record - I've written about it A LOT; and 2) I don't think about it that much anymore.  Truly. This whole blog started as a way for me to vent and find connections and, in all honesty, seek some kind of validation about the whole thing.  But in the years that have passed, I have stopped thinking about it all that much.  I have found new connections, new outlets, and I no longer feel like I need validation.  I am at a place of peace about the whole thing, and in fact, I sometimes look back at old posts of mine and cringe.

Lately, however, I have been inundated with emails from women asking me for my advice about their own career path.  Some ask if I think they should leave their current jobs.  Some have recently left their current jobs and ask me what I suggest they do to maintain a network.  Others have recently found out they are pregnant and are in a state of panic as to how they will balance their career with a family.  I am, in many ways, honored that people are seeking my advice, but in some ways I don't feel I am necessarily the best person to give it.  After all, who am I?  I am just your average girl that happens to write a blog and also happens to have left a career to stay at home.  But I try my best to put myself in their position, and give honest, sincere advice.

To really understand where these women are coming from, I have to put myself back in time.  I have to remember the struggles I faced, what it was like when I left, and all the insecurities I felt.  I have to remember that I felt so alone and unsure and, in many ways, like some kind of failure for even considering leaving my job.  I have to remember the main reason I started this blog - for some kind of validation about my ultimate decision.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Colds and Allergies and Fake Allergies Too

I have never myself had allergies.  Ever.  I guess I should consider myself very lucky.  But as a result, I've never really understood them.  When people sneeze and cough and wheeze in the spring and early fall, how do they know it's not just a cold?  I mean, truly, how do you really know?

I suppose I never really cared, until I had kids and started being wary of sick people coming to the house and being around them.  When you, or your child, is snotting and hacking all over my home, and you tell me it's just allergies, are you sure?  Really?  Because as history would have it, my kids seem to have "caught" allergies on several occasions.  

My suspicions of allergies generally only were exacerbated when I met my husband.  First, there's his fake fruit and nut allergies.  He claims that he is "allergic" to apples, but not cooked apples (or apples that have been peeled).  He claims that he is "allergic" to nuts, but he will eat peanuts, or cashews.  (And it's worth it to mention that nothing happens to him if he eats the aforementioned foods - he just gets a "scratchy throat."). He claims that he is "allergic" to dogs, yet I have never once seen him sneeze or react in the presence of any dog, let alone our dog.  And... you guessed it, whenever he comes down with a cold or sore throat - it's not an illness.  No, it's allergies.  (And yes, I tend to catch these "allergies" myself shortly after he comes down with his symptoms).  

(Sorry, honey.  I kid.  Kind of).  

Unfortunately, it took my son getting hit hard with allergies last spring for me to really start to believe that this whole "allergy" thing might not really be a farce.  

It started gradually.  A slight cold, a sniffle.  But then, Braden woke up one morning looking like he had been punched in the face - in both eyes.  His poor eyes were so swollen and puffy and red that I could think of nothing to do but put ice on them.  I sent him to school that day, and he came home even worse - crying and scratching and begging me for some relief.  After a frantic call to my husband (and a quick apology for doubting his allergy allegations all these years) and our pediatrician, I high tailed it to CVS to pick up some kids allergy medication.  The first didn't work so well, but after some trial and error, we did find one that did the trick.  It wasn't fool proof, but it allowed him to play outside and not experience extreme discomfort.  (Please click here for an overview of over the counter allergy medications and how to use them).    

Come early June, it was all over.
Now, I hear allergy season has returned.  And the quintessential question arises again - allergy or cold?  

Luckily, OTC Safety has some advice in this regard.  

If you find that your little one does have allergies, here's a great cheat sheet as to how to use (and not to use) allergy medications.  

So far so good in our household, for the most part.  My husband starting sneezing yesterday.  "Allergies," he said.  I suppose we'll see...

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When 5 Years Goes by too Quickly

I remember when I was young the years passed slowly.  It seemed like it took forever to turn 16. And then even longer to turn 21.  In fact, I remember starting college and thinking that I would be there forever.  Four years - an eternity.  It was almost as if I couldn't comprehend the concept of four years, and a chapter of my life, actually passing me by.

When I eventually graduated, it was a shock.  I couldn't believe that all that time had come and gone.  Up until that point, the passage of time had been elusive to me.  Graduating from college was the first time in my life it had really caught up to me.  The first time that, looking back, the years had gone by quickly.  Much too quickly.

Once you reach a certain age - and I'm not quite sure what age this is, perhaps it's different for everyone - years start to pass you by.  One right after the other, each one providing a shock and a reminder that this thing we call time is actually limited.  I think that's because once you reach a certain age, we stop changing the way we used to. Sure, there are subtle changes - a few pounds, some gray hairs, some emotional growth, or even some drastic change in circumstance, but by and large, as adults, five years doesn't mean much.

I still have clothes in my closet that I wore five years ago.  I still watch some of the same TV shows I watched five years ago.  And when I look at pictures of myself five years ago, I don't look that different. My circumstances have changed, for sure, but in five years I haven't acquired any groundbreaking new skills.  Or learned any new languages.  Or made that many new friends, for that matter.  I still have the same favorite restaurants, the same favorite foods, and I listen to much of the same music.

But watching a child over a five year time period.... it's nothing short of fascinating.  The changes are so drastic.  The years are so different - so much more meaningful, and so much more full.  In becoming an adult, I had forgotten how the passage of time transforms.  Until five years ago.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Keep Thine Head Down

My last ultrasound was at 24 weeks pregnant (about six weeks ago).  At that time, my wee one was sitting pretty in the transverse position - head at my right side, feet at my left side.  NOT the prime, head down, ready to birth position.  I didn't think much of it at the time.  But as the weeks have gone by, and I have continued to feel the kicks at my left side, and a big hard ball at my right side, I have started to get a little concerned.  Is this baby going to be breech?

Here ye, here ye, I will not have a c-section (the method of delivery for a breech baby).  I simply WILL NOT.

It's not that I'm so against a c-section in theory.  It's just that I've already had two pregnancies, with two head down babies, with two uncomplicated vaginal births.  I know what it's like to go through that kind of pain, and to mess up things down there.  I am prepared, yet again to go through pain and mess up things down there.  

I shouldn't be going through new things this pregnancy.  This pregnancy should be straightforward and standard.  The three hour gestational diabetes test was change enough.  No c-sections. No complications.  No thank you.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Just as it Starts to Get Easier...

I don't know if I write about it enough, but being a stay at home mom is HARD work.  I'm not saying it's harder or easier than working, or doing anything else.  But in and of itself, it is a hard and exhausting job.

I have found that the level of difficulty ebbs and flows according to a number of factors.  Age of child is probably the most important one.  0-4 months is very difficult, 4-9 months is easier, then it gets difficult again as the child gets mobile, with the level of difficulty peaking around 18 months - 2 years of age, particularly if said child is what I like to call a "runner."  In my experience, things start to get calmer around age 4, and after that, I can't tell you.  I'm still living it.  

Having two children only further complicates things, as you are dealing with different ages, and different levels of difficulty, at the same time.  My kids tend to yo yo off of each other in terms of who gives me the most trouble.  For a long while there it was Braden (see post about his hitting phase) - he gave me a serious run for my money for a year or so, until he slowly became cooperative, accommodating, and the most loving kid in the whole world (see post about the sweet nothings he whispers into my ear).  Casey, on the other hand, was our "angel" baby, until he wasn't anymore (see post about his transition from angel child to slight terror).  He hasn't yet grown out of this "terror" stage, and his terror is now, sadly, directed at other children who dare to come within two feet of a toy he has claimed as his own.  But generally, he is getting more manageable.  He is no longer a runner, he sometimes follows direction, and overall he's just a joy, so I can ignore the other stuff.  

The boys' first official day of school was today.  It was anticlimactic, really.  No tears.  No separation anxiety.  Just hugs and goodbyes and anticipation.  Their new schedule means that I have my mornings to myself - from 8am-11am.  Three whole hours.  It is the first time in five years that I haven't had anyone to answer to for a regular, set time period.  To say it is freeing is an understatement.  I can go to a doctor's appointment without worrying about child care.  I can watch the Today show.  I can get some work done.  I can play the suburban housewife and shop at Target and get my nails done.  Or I can just lay in bed for a couple of hours.  The luxury of it all!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Plagues of Back to School Season

Just last week I was sitting on the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey, taking in the sun and the summer and the slow pace of it all.

Today, both of my kids started school.  Crazy. 

There are a million things I could say about this, and in the next few weeks, I will probably find some way to say them.  The tears, the transition, the fact that this means that this means I will have another BABY this season.  But for today, I’m going to focus on something else. 

The germs. 

When both of my kids started school at age 2, the onslaught of disease began.  Norovirus, roseola, hand foot and mouth, strep, Fifth’s disease, croup, and every cough and cold known to man.  And I’m not surprised.  At preschool drop-offs, I would scan the room and see snotty nosed kid after snotty nosed kid.  Then I would see my child suck on a toy after one of the aforementioned snotty nosed kids dropped it, and within days my child would himself become a snotty nosed kid.   I suppose it is par for the course, but man, did it suck.  As the kids get older, the frequency of diseases and snotty noses has decreased, which is nice.  But it still doesn’t stop the dread I get when I get one of those “notices” from school. 

You know the ones.  They have a little smiley face or an apple.  They look all happy, until you read the fine print: “We’d like to inform you that a student in your child’s class has come down with [insert name of deadly plague here].  Please contact your doctor if your child shows any symptoms of [insert name of deadly plague once again].” 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Your Turn - Sara's Story

"Your Turn" is a series of posts where readers share their stories of parenthood, work, the struggle for a balance, or just life generally.  If you are interested in contributing a story, please email me at butidohavealawdegree@gmail.com, or click here.

"Good morning, Professor!"

As I heard my name from across the law school classroom, I couldn't help but smirk at my title. Just twenty minutes prior, I was trying desperately to get out of the door in time for class, only to find my two-year old son drawing crayon circles all over one of my student's briefs that I had left out on the kitchen table.  After waving frantically on multiple street corners, I finally found a cab, realizing only once I buckled my seat belt that my newborn daughter had left a huge blob of spit-up on the corner of my white silk blouse.  Oh well, class started at 9:00 am, and there was no turning back now.  If anyone noticed, I could always just pretend it was foam from the vanilla soy latte I would have loved to get if I actually had time to stop at Starbucks before I left.

This is how it goes these days.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.

No one told us women before we endured the rigors of law school that the legal world isn't always the most family friendly profession.  And once I became a mom, I knew I could no longer stress about meeting my billable hours while trying to get home in time to put my son to bed.  But I was told that a law degree opens doors and could lead to endless possibilities.  So I thought about what I was passionate about and set out to do something I had always wanted to do - teach law.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Relaxing Vacation with Kids - An Oxymoron?

Last August I went out to lunch with two of my closest friends in DC, along with our kids.  It was a beautiful August day, we sat outside, and our kids were well behaved.  In short, it felt almost like I was on vacation. So much so, that I had an idea:  This time next year, why don't we all go to the beach for a week with the kids?  If we're hanging out here in DC, we might as well be hanging out at the ocean!

Months went by, filled with casual conversation about a potential beach week, and then in January we got real about it.  We researched beaches, houses, and prices, and we actually booked it.  It was predominantly to be a week with just the moms and the kids - our husbands could probably only take a couple of days of of work, anyway.  A weeklong playdate, really.  Six kids.  Three moms.  Easy enough, right? Relaxing?


Friday, August 16, 2013

Child Care Woes

When I got the news earlier this week that I had to devote four hours of my day to the glucose screening (which came back negative, by the way), my first thought wasn't of the needles or the discomfort or the ramifications of gestational diabetes.  It was - who is going to watch the kids?  

These days, with frequent OB appointments and occasional work demands and a lack of school/camp, I find that I am asking myself that question more and more often.  And given that I am adding one more kid to the mix somewhat soon, it is stressing me out big time.

One of the things I hated the most about working and having a child was the child care issue.  We opted for a nanny, and for the most part, things went smoothly.  But there was always the occasional hiccup - when the nanny's mother died and she had to leave for two weeks unexpectedly.  When I needed help later into the evening and she couldn't stay.  When the nanny got sick.  When I needed to work on what was supposed to be my "day off," and the nanny had another job.  Ultimately, my job was the one that was sacrificed, and I would work from home, or take a day off.  Other times, family from out town would come to visit and fill in. It always ended up working out, but the anxiety of a child care fail hung over me at all times. When I quit my job, I had a huge sense of relief that I didn't have to worry about "those kinds of things" anymore.

But alas, I was wrong!  In some ways, the child care issue is harder as a stay at home mom, because when I need someone, I don't have someone waiting in the wings to go to.  I have gone through countless babysitters, ranging from high school to college to middle age, and no one has really stuck.  Some have gone away to college or moved or taken on other full time jobs.  Others have flaked out so many times I have blacklisted them, or have passed out on the job at the sight of blood (true story), or, most recently, have stolen my husband's spare coin stash (very disturbing).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sugar Fail

I hate failing tests.  Especially when they involve gross sugary drinks and needles and blood draws.

I heard the news this morning.  I FAILED the most annoying test in the course of a pregnancy - the one hour glucose tolerance test.  And what reward do I get for FAILING this test?  Yet another test!  Three hours long!  (Plain english translation - there's a small possibility that I have gestational diabetes - further testing is required).

First, lets go over the joys of test #1 (which I FAILED).  At around 26 weeks, we pregnant ladies get to chug a ridiculously disgusting sugary drink, that sits like a pit in the bottom of our stomachs. Then we get to wait, exactly one hour, in a gross and overcrowded medical lab, and get blood taken.  Then, some of us, I don't know, like myself, reward ourselves afterwards with a cheeseburger and fries.  (I was craving salt).  Approximately 80% of us will pass this test and never look back.

That means 20% of us aren't so lucky.

I have done this test twice before, one with each previous pregnancy, and passed.  I assumed this time would be no different.  In fact, yesterday, as I was chugging down my sugary drink, I took solace in one thing, which I confirmed with my OB:  So assuming this test goes well, is this the last time I have to get blood drawn during this pregnancy?  

Why yes it is!  he told me.

Why, oh why did I ask that question?  I jinxed myself right there.

Friday, August 9, 2013

What Kind of "Opt-Out" Poster Child Will I Be?

Is it just me, or is the whole stay at home mom/working mom debate EVERYWHERE now?  It seems like every other day there's a new article in the Atlantic or the New York Times or Huffington Post or [you name that news medium] about women leaning in, opting out, or scaling back.  Don't get me wrong - I think it's great.  I love the debate, and for the most part I love the articles.  When I find good ones, I share them on Twitter and Facebook.  Occasionally, if one particularly strikes me, I write about it.  Like today.

Earlier this week the New York Times ran an article titled "The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In."  This article profiles several women who, over a decade ago, decided to opt out of the work force to stay at home with their kids.  (They were profiled in an article back in 2003, which you can read here).  Most of the women left high paying, highly successful careers because the balance between work and family was too hard.  They did so willfully, and hopefully.  They wanted more time with their children.  Sound familiar?  The article asks, and answers, the question - what became of them?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Travel with Young Kids (or in my case, wild, loud boys)

This past weekend I drove myself to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and back.  The drive was nice, and I actually looked forward to it.  It's ironic, because I remember there was a time when I used to dread long car trips by myself.  I would get nervous and feel dread and make myself special "mix tapes" to stave off boredom.
My, how things have changed.  Now I view a long car trip by myself as a luxury.  Hours to myself, with no one to bother me?  Being able to listen to whatever music I want?  Or call whoever I want? Or opt for silence, if I so choose?  Ahhhhh.  Heaven.  

I suppose it's the contrast to travel with my children that makes a solo trip so enticing.  

We are a family that travels fairly often.  All three sets of grandparents live other states, as well as aunts and uncles and cousins and friends.  We also like to take vacations when we can, and I try not to limit myself based on the burdens of the journey alone.  We haven't flown the kids to Europe (yet), but I won't let a longer flight or drive keep me from going somewhere.  

But that doesn't mean it's not painful at times.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Old and Pregnant and Sober at a Bachelorette Party

Pregnancies always seem to be ill timed with major events - perhaps because in a nine month period, there are inevitably some.  But this pregnancy, there is a major, major event - my younger sister's wedding.

One of my first thoughts when I got the positive pregnancy test was - will this conflict with my sister's wedding?  Thankfully, no.  I will be 34 weeks pregnant when my sister gets hitched.  I will be a fat, sober bridesmaid, but I will be there.  Huge sigh of relief.  

But I will also be fat and sober for the events leading up to the wedding as well, one such event being this weekend - the bachelorette party.  

As my sister's maid of honor, I was in charge of organizing the bachelorette party and corresponding shower. I took on this responsibility with excitement - after all, I am a planner.  I invited all of my sister's friends, booked hotel rooms in Chapel Hill, NC, made dinner reservations, and picked out shower invitations.  I have to say, it was fun!  

But as the bachelorette party approached, reality hit me - I am old, pregnant, fat, and sober.  In a college town.  At a bachelorette party.  

First the old.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Missing my Boy

Braden started full day camp last week - eight solid hours.  If I'm honest, I was counting down the days until he started.  He has been home with me all summer long, and it has been a bit of a challenge.  That kid knows how to push my buttons better than anyone, and I am embarrassed to admit that I allowed my buttons to be pushed too often than not.  Go toe to toe with a four year old on their level, and you will always lose.  Always.

I felt that not only did I need a break, but Braden needed the activity.  Every day, in the middle of the day, we were confined to the house for two solid hours while Casey napped.  It's during that time that I usually get my work done, and Braden being home didn't change that.  As a result, he watched Toy Story 2 a ridiculous number of times (as in, every freaking day).  I felt guilty about the reliance on the TV, but not enough to change it.  After all, by that time of day I was usually out of energy and exhausted and regardless of if I had work to do, it was hard to muster up the energy to entertain him.  

Like all new things Braden embarks on, I think I had more anxiety than he did on the day of his first day of camp last week.  Eight full hours!  Wouldn't he get tired?  What if he got too hot?  Too tired?  Too thirsty?  Would he make friends?  Would he have fun?  Who would reapply his sunscreen, specifically to that part in the nape of his neck that is so easy to miss?  Who would help him put on his socks?  Who would hug him if he was scared?    As ready as I was for him to start, I found relinquishing control over my baby boy for eight solid hours to be nerve wracking.  

He started camp last Monday.  He did fine, as he always does.  But me?  I took it a little harder.  

Despite my eagerness to get him off of my hands, I have found myself missing Braden this past week.  I mean, really missing him.  I see him in the morning, of course, and then the day goes by.  I have Casey and we do activities and eat lunch and rest, and then at 4pm I pick Braden up again.  By the time we get home, there's barely any time for playing before it's dinner, bath, and bed.  

I miss my boy.  

I realize this sounds ridiculous.  Many parents, including my husband, and including myself before I quit my job, spend their days away from their child.  They are fine with it, as I was.  But being a stay at home mom has changed my sense of normalcy.  Braden, for the past two and a half years, has been my constant companion. And apart from a weekend away here and there, eight hours in a day is the longest he has been away from me since I quit my job.   

Eight hours is a long time.  

I miss him nagging me.  I miss him pushing my buttons.  I miss his hugs and his laugh and his sense of humor.  I miss his noise.  I miss his constant presence.  Casey does too.  We are fine, of course, but it is an adjustment.  A big one.  I miss our days as a team of 3.  

Braden starts school at the end of August, and it will be a full day program once again.  In fact, for the rest of his life, until he leaves home, Braden will be in school for the better part of the day.  I have known this, obviously.  But until last week, I didn't feel it.  And I certainly didn't expect to feel so sad about it.  

The weird thing about parenthood is it's ever changing.  You get used to one thing, and then BAM, it shifts, and you adjust to a new normal.  Until the next new normal comes.  As I become a more seasoned parent, I am realizing it's okay to mourn the end of one normal as you embark on a new one.  The new one will be fine, and one that I eventually will mourn once it's over.  But today - today I miss my baby boy.  I miss him a lot.  

I end this post in tears, which I didn't plan on!  I find myself mentally shouting at myself - GET A GRIP, SHANNON!  It's only camp, for God's sake!  But the fact is, it's just the tip of an iceberg towards a growing independence for my boy, who I am so incredibly proud of.  It's what I want for him - to go out there into the big world and find himself.  To not spend every minute with me. To find other people to rely on and other people to bond with and ultimately, to not need me so much anymore.  

But it leaves me so sad, in a bittersweet way.  Where is the time going?  Where did my baby go? Sometimes I feel like if I hug him tight enough, and long enough, he'll stay just like he is and never grow up.  

But he has grown up.  So much.  And he just keeps on growing, and changing.  

Two and a half years ago I left my job, in large part to spend my days with Braden.  From this point on, the majority of his days will be spent elsewhere.  That's okay, and it's exactly how it should be.

But I miss him.  And as a mom, I will probably never stop.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

In Defense of the "Good Wives"

When the news came out this week about Anthony Weiner's recent indiscretions, I honestly barely gave it any thought.  What do I care?  It's another politician, running for office in another state, and it has no bearing on my life at all.  And really, if it weren't for his unfortunate last name, would this have really made headlines in the first place, some 2+ years ago?

Regardless of my interest, I am a victim of the mainstream media, and I couldn't help but notice the articles, and what those articles were focusing on.

His wife.  

One such article on CNN was titled Why Does Huma Abedin Put Up with Weiner?  In its first paragraph, it stated that: 

"Tempted as I am to write about Anthony Weiner's sexual compulsions, I think it is more important to talk about his wife, Huma Abedin.  What the hell was she doing at Weiner's press conference Tuesday, where he once again asked her and the public for forgiveness for a new set of sexual transgressions, instead of being in her attorney's office?"

"More important?"  REALLY?  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Survival Kits

Summer brings sun and fun and outdoor play..... and scrapes and burns and bites and falls.  So far, we've made it through to near the end of July with a bit of the above, but no ER visits (knock on wood - really, please do).

OTC Safety, an online resource for over the counter medicine safety, has prepared some great summer survival kits for parents to have on hand all summer long, covering the three main plagues of summer - sun, scrapes, and bugs (oh my!).  They are hugely helpful - I encourage everyone to print them, share them, tweet them, create an interpretive dance for them, etc. Perhaps your children will be lucky enough to escape the summer unscathed, but chances are, probably not.  

Without further adieu...

A cheat sheet for sun: 

A cheat sheet for scrapes: 

And a cheat sheet for bugs: 

For more helpful tips on summer safety, and over the counter medicine safety generally, you can follow OTC Safety on Twitter or like their Facebook page.  

Disclosure - I receive compensation as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All of the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Worst Part of Parenthood (so far)

Is this:

There are many bloggers that have written helpful, witty, and enlightening posts about potty training.  I, I'm afraid, am not going to be one of them.  To me, it just boils down to one simple, existential question:


On Saturday, we told Casey that we were done with diapers.  Hooray!  We unveiled the potty.  We explained that when he had to poo or pee, he needed to sit on there and do it.  Quite simple, really.


On Saturday morning, he sat on that thing for over two hours.  He was clearly holding it in.  I could tell. Eventually, something came out.  We cheered.  We screamed.  We rewarded him with a lollipop and M&M's.  We had hope.  A small, glimmer of hope.

But hopes sometimes get dashed.  And in this circumstance, hope was torn away by a giant turd that Casey lay on the carpet on Sunday, with the potty only a few feet away.  He must have picked up the turd, or wiped himself, because remnants of said turd appeared on his hands, shirt, and hair.  He did not seem bothered in the least.

I told my husband he should take a picture of it.  He didn't.  Perhaps that is best.

In a way, I get it.  If someone told me to crap my pants, right now, I don't know if I could do it.  I am trained to use a toilet.  It would be hard to go elsewhere, frankly.  And for Casey, he has lived his life pooping in a diaper.  Perhaps pooping somewhere else is especially challenging.


I've been through this process before.  I know there are accidents, stops and starts, steps forward and steps back.  God knows, the journey of Braden from a diaper wearer to a fully toilet trained toddler took a long time, and it sucked.  Just sucked.

And here I am again.  And perhaps because I know what lies ahead - naked penises and dribbles on the floor and turds on the carpet - I just lose all inspiration.

But we are on a time clock.  As my stomach grows bigger, the time ticks away.  I will NOT clean up turds on the carpet while I am nursing a newborn.  I just will not.

For the love of God, JUST USE THE POTTY.

It's really not that hard.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What This Pregnant Girl Fantasizes About

This is going to take a bit of imagination (and an appreciation for science fiction).  But bear with me.

Scientists have invented a pill for pregnant women.  It's a special pill that only works for 24 hours, and in those 24 hours pregnant women can do whatever they want without hurting their fetus. Aka, they can drink whatever they want, eat whatever they want, and sit in a hot tub for as long as they damn well please.  All pregnancy side effects cease on this day, as well - no aches and pains, no constipation, no reflux.  The pill can be taken any time in the pregnancy - beginning, middle, and end, and it is entirely up to the woman.  No side effects.  Just a day off.

This pill has resulted in a cultural phenomenon in modern society - the pregnancy party.  Much like a bachelorette party, or a "hen" party as they call them in the UK, pretty much all pregnant women have such a party (where they take their pregnancy pill).  It's a rite of passage, particularly for a first pregnancy.  (It's similar to weddings in that way - the first one is a super big deal, and subsequent ones are a bit more toned town.  Aka, it's bad taste to make people travel and spend a ton of money on more than one pregnancy party in your honor).  

These pregnancy parties run from tame to wild.  Some women, who never really drank in the first place and have always kept a vegan diet, simply have the equivalent of a modern day baby shower.  Cake, punch, presents (boring).  Other women take it to the other extreme.  They go out on the town with personalized t-shirts and tiaras and slutty outfits with their big bellies hanging out. They walk around with an entourage and are loud, obnoxious, and drunk.  If you're out at a nice restaurant, and see such a group walk in, you want to leave immediately.  Ugh, another one of those wild pregnancy parties, you say.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Frantically Filling the Resume Gap

I am coming off two weeks of wonderful, relaxing vacation.  It was a vacation where I did my best to leave all my cares behind, to be stress free, and to live in the moment.  And in many ways, I did just that.  But there's always the wretched reality of coming back.  And today, with my husband back to work, two kids with fevers, and a variety of freelance and part time gigs that are all coming to a head, I am feeling that reality.  The feeling that I am taking on too much is flooding in.

When I left my job at a law firm over two years ago, one of the burdens hanging over my head was that of a resume gap.  The notorious resume gap!  It seemed to be the number one concern of those I spoke to at the time: What are you going to do about your resume gap?  How long will the gap be?  Make sure you don't have too long of a resume gap - you'll never get another job - ever, ever, ever!  

I tended to roll my eyes at the time.  In dealing with the change and shock of going from a full time worker to a stay at home mom, a resume gap wasn't a short term concern of mine.  In addition, on principle I resented this.  I am who I am today, and I will be that person tomorrow.  Of course, my skills and knowledge will get stale, and I expected that to be taken into account.  But to suggest that a resume gap would doom me, and render all of my previous accomplishments moot? Bullshit, I told myself.

But I'm not going to say it didn't occur to me.  After all, I had been a resume builder extraordinaire for most of my adult life.  My resume went linearly from 1996 on - with no gaps, and with many prestigious internship enhancements, awards, and recognitions.  I made many a decision with the reasoning of, that will look good on my resume, and as a result, it was a pretty good resume, if I do say so myself.  I had spent more than a decade perfecting this resume of mine, and there I was, abandoning it.  GIVING IT A GAP FROM WHICH IT WOULD NEVER RECOVER!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Snapshots from the Cape

Posts will be light on words and heavy on pictures for the next week.  We are on vacation!!!!  And though I love this little blog of mine, even it starts to feel like an obligation when I am in carefree vacation mode...

Hello from Cape Cod!

There's been sun, swimming, and an engorgement of amazing food.  

I'm off to get back to it...

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